What if Gandhi was Actually a Champion of Racial Inequality
Video Questions: "What If Gandhi Was a Champion of Racial Inequality?
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October 6, 2018
Video Questions: "What If Gandhi Was a Champion of Racial Inequality?"
Challenges U.S. House Resolution 6916's proposal to award Gandhi a Congressional Gold Medal
WASHINGTON, DC: Oct. 6, 2018 — Responding to House Resolution 6916, a proposal to posthumously award Mohandas Gandhi a Congressional Gold Medal, a new video documents the Indian icon’s relationship with black people during his 21 years as a lawyer in colonial South Africa.
“Shortly before Apartheid criminalized racial harmony in South Africa, Gandhi took legal action to segregate Africans from Indians,” explains African activist Jada Bernard in the video. “He demanded segregated schools, segregated neighborhoods, segregated prisons. He even successfully sued to get a third door installed in the Durban, South Africa post office so Indians wouldn’t have to share a door with blacks.”
Working through Gandhi’s time in South Africa by quoting from The Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Bernard concludes, “What if the truth is that we’ve been double-victimized? First, the living Gandhi pushed a racist agenda to oppress us. Second, the dead Gandhi was passed off as a hero for the African people.”
Commenting on the video, which was produced by Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), Arvin Valmuci says, “Members of the U.S. Congress should really take note of who they are attempting to honor before they pass this resolution.”
A spokesperson for OFMI, Valmuci continues, “We demand that the handful of representatives who have co-signed this resolution immediately remove their support. Especially Representative Tulsi Gabbard. After national pressure compelled Gabbard to back out of the World Hindu Congress and admit that it was an Indian political event, we hope she wakes up to the reality that this resolution is also sponsored by a foreign government. Why else was the Indian consulate involved when Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York announced she would introduce legislation in the American Congress?”
In the video, presenter Bernard makes the following remarks:
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People call him an Apostle of Nonviolence. World leaders visit the spot where he was cremated. His Hollywood story has won Academy Awards. We see his statues all over the world.
Now, an American Congresswoman even wants to give him a Congressional Gold Medal.
But who was Gandhi?
He told us, “My life is my message.”
Has his life been told correctly?
He warned us that his life was a story of experiments with truth.
Do we know the result of those experiments?
Do we know the truth?
After graduating law school in England, Gandhi spent 21 years as a lawyer in colonial South Africa.
What did he do during these pivotal years?
What if I told you that Gandhi used his talents to advance white supremacy?
Shortly before Apartheid criminalized racial harmony in South Africa, Gandhi took legal action to segregate Africans from Indians. He demanded segregated schools, segregated neighborhoods, segregated prisons. He even successfully sued to get a third door installed in the Durban, South Africa post office so Indians wouldn’t have to share a door with blacks.
Why would he do this? We thought that Gandhi aligned himself with the marginalized, empowered the oppressed, and worked to uplift the downtrodden. But what did he believe about melanated people like me?
He believed that life is a competition between races and that Indians must rise above Africans in order to progress in this world.
Gandhi called black Africans “Kaffirs” — a racial slur that will get you arrested if you use it today in South Africa. He said that “Indians are undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Kaffirs.”
He said that blacks “are of no use,” and “do not work at all,” and are “as a rule uncivilized.” He used every stereotype in the book to push his hatred of blacks. The “sole ambition” of an African, according to Gandhi, was “to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”
He knew that blacks were suffering in South Africa. He said, “Prejudice against Kaffir races, in a strong form, was in existence.” But he was only concerned about prejudice against Africans because he was concerned that Indians were being “lumped together” with blacks. Gandhi hated being identified with blacks.
He said that being “classed with the natives of South Africa — the Kaffir race” was a “gross injustice” and “insulted the Indians.” He was scared of being “dragged down with the Kaffir.” He was terrified that “there will be no difference between Indians and Kaffirs.”
He wanted to convince whites that “both the races — Indian and European — have sprung from the same Aryan stock.” So he assured them that there are “evident and sharp distinctions” between Africans and Indians. He said that Indians are “scholars and gentlemen,” and claimed that “one cannot but help regretting that the children of such a race should be treated as equals of the children of black heathendom and outer darkness.”
Gandhi would not tolerate sharing any space in this world with blacks. He was furious that Indian children had to share a school with African children and called it “unjust to the Indian community.” When blacks moved into Indian neighborhoods, he said, “This mixing of the Kaffirs with the Indians is very unfair to the Indian population.” He protested that “all the Kaffirs of the town” are being “dumped down” in Indian neighborhoods, and so he petitioned the government to “withdraw the Kaffirs.”
The strangest part is that Gandhi wasn’t even asking for Indians to be treated equal to whites. He just wanted to make sure that Indians were treated superior to Africans.
He wrote letters to the colonial government to protest against “the co-mingling of the colored and white races.” He assured them that Indians “cherish… the purity of type.” He was very specific. Indians, said, Gandhi, advocate “the purity of all the races and not one alone.”
Above all, Gandhi wanted to preserve white supremacy. So he told the government, “We believe that the white race of South Africa should be the predominating race.”
Gandhi’s racism is one of the main reasons why he was denied the Nobel Peace Prize — not just once or twice — but five times.
Gandhi’s racism is one reason why the Dalits — the black people of India — felt that he was their enemy. It’s why the Dalit intellectual Dr. Ambedkar said, “I met Mr. Gandhi in the capacity of an opponent” and warned “he opened his real fangs to me.”
Was Gandhi really a champion of civil rights?
Why is the only statue at the Dr. Martin Luther King., Jr. Center in Atlanta a statue of Gandhi?
We’re told that Dr. King was inspired by Gandhi, but the reality is that Dr. King only praised Gandhi in passing — and in ignorance. What if King had known the real face of Gandhi?
Maybe he would have reacted the same way as the professors at the University of Ghana, who successfully demanded a removal of a Gandhi statue from their campus.
What if the truth is that we’ve been double-victimized?
First, the living Gandhi pushed a racist agenda to oppress us. Second, the dead Gandhi was passed off as a hero for the African people.
That’s like rubbing salt in our wounds — wounds which have not yet healed from the pain of centuries of oppression, slavery, apartheid, lynching, and segregation.
What if the story we think is really true is really propaganda?
What if we’ve been fed poison passed off as sugar?
What if Gandhi was actually a champion of racial inequality?
Organization for Minorities of India was founded in 2006 to advance individual liberties of Christians, Buddhists, Dalits, Muslims, Sikhs, and all Mulnivasi people of South Asia by encouraging secularism, progressive human rights, liberation of oppressed peoples, and universal human dignity. Visit OFMI.org for more information.
Stop Erecting Racist Mahatma Gandhi's Statue at Ginnery Corner, Blantyre, Malawi
The Gandhi Must Fall Movement in Malawi started this petition to Blantyre City Council The Mayor of Blantyre and 1 other
As citizens of Malawi born out of black African descent, we are appalled with Blantyre City Council’s decision to erect Gandhi’s statue at Ginnery Corner, Blantyre, Malawi.
When it comes to Gandhi, we cannot deny that he is of historical importance to India and to the world as a symbol of activism.
However, Gandhi has a questionable background and character for Malawi to honour him with a statue.
When Gandhi was in South Africa, in the early 1900s, he repudiated the colonialist structure that placed Indians and black Africans in the same class bracket apart from Europeans. Gandhi went on further to fight for the idea that Indians were superior to Africans and thus could not be bundled together.
In a recent book researched by Ashwin Desai and Goolam Vahed, professors at the University of Johannesburg and the University of KwaZulu Natal, uncovered in detail that Gandhi was an ardent racist who thought Africans were “Kaffirs”. Kaffir is a racial slur which was used to denigrate Africans during the colonial times. The word Kaffir is now a banned word in South Africa because of its racial connotations.
Desai and Vahed claim that much of the halo that surrounds Gandhi today is a result of clever repackaging of his world revered legacy.
However, they are also many of Gandhi’s biographers that have shed light on his bigotry in relation to black Africans.
Below are some of the statements he made showing nothing but contempt for the black African race:
When the British required Indians and Africans to carry passports in South Africa, Gandhi commented:
Indians are hard working people, they should not be required to carry these things. But, black people are kaffirs, losers and they are lazy, yes, they can carry their passport but why should we do that?
In an open letter he wrote:
I venture to point out that both the English and the Indians spring from a common stock, called the Indo-Aryan. A general belief seems to prevail in the Colony that the Indians are little better, if at all, than savages or the Natives of Africa. Even the children are taught to believe in that manner, with the result that the Indian is being dragged down to the position of a raw Kaffir.
He also did not approve of Indian men having relations with African women:
Some Indians do have contacts with Kaffir women. I think such contacts are fraught with grave danger. Indians would do well to avoid them altogether
He did not like the idea that Africans and Indians were given the same entrance at work. He actually fought for Indians to have their separate entrance away from Africans:
We felt the indignity too much and … petitioned the authorities to do away with the invidious distinction, and they have now provided three separate entrances for natives, Asiatics and Europeans.
At a speech in Mumbai in 1896:
Europeans in Natal wished to degrade us to the level of the raw kaffir whose occupation is hunting, and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then, pass his life in indolence and nakedness.
The revelation of Gandhi’s dark side has influenced African countries to repudiate the idea of placing the Gandhi statue on African soil. In Ghana, the president of India unveiled a statue of Gandhi at the premises of the University of Ghana in 2016. In no time, the University of Ghana erupted and petitioned the authorities to have it removed. Today the statue has been removed at the University of Ghana due to a petition which was set up by academics and students at the institution.
Quoting the petition here is part of the argument the University of Ghana made:
We are of the view that if there should be statues on our campus, then, first and foremost, they should be of African heroes and heroines, who can serve as examples of who we are and what we have achieved as a people. In a context where our youth know so little about our own history, such statues can serve as an opportunity for such learning to occur. Why should we uplift other people's 'heroes' at an African university when we haven’t lifted up our own? We consider this to be a slap in the face that undermines our struggles for autonomy, recognition and respect.
In South Africa where Gandhi should be revered, there was also a movement which sought to see his statues brought down. This is the country where he lived for over a decade and yet the citizens today do not want to see the statue standing in their squares.
We then wonder why the Mayor and the Blantyre City Council approved the erection of Gandhi’s statue when he is being rebuked by other Africans due to his racist past.
As black Africans-Malawians we will find it very offensive to appreciate the value of the statue when the man himself thought we were inferior. If you erect this statue it will make a mockery out of Malawi’s independence movement which fought to extricate “classism” between black, brown and white races.
It cannot be denied that the majority of the citizens of Malawi are of black African descent who together fought for independence against British Imperialism. The Indian community who are in a minority in Malawi have to understand that we do not share the same views in regards to Mahatma Gandhi. Yes he fought for Indian independence in India but at the same time we cannot ignore his racist remarks against black Africans.
This is not only a Malawian issue but also an African one because we were both subjected under the same colonial system. Malawians like many other African countries fought against a colonialist system which placed the African man and woman in an inferior class in relation to the Europeans.
John Chilembwe our most celebrated hero who fought against this system even died trying to fight this oppressive system which destroyed the very fabric of African society along this vast continent. The intended result of colonialism has left Africa with a severe case of inferiority complex which has been detrimental to society-building.
In Malawi, the case of inferiority complex is also prevalent that even President Arthur Peter Mutharika has spoke on it at the recent United Nations General Assembly Meeting.
The case of inferiority complex has altered the values of Africans into thinking that anything that is “foreign” is better than anything that is "local." Everything that is cultural and indigenous to this country seems to be considered as the last option.
It is thus appalling that a government institution would be in the forefront to promote a racist personality who has no connection to Malawi's history whatsoever. What happened to promoting our heroes who really matter and have connection to the soil of Malawi?
Furthermore, if this was an idea to bridge Malawians and Indians together in our society, we can guarantee you that this will create a deep-seated animosity between the two communities.
A statue is supposed to be of national and historical importance to remember those who contributed positively to our history in the pre-colonial, colonial and post indepence periods. A statue should be able to be celebrated by a nation which remembers its past as a source of inspiration to forge ahead as a country. Unfortunately, the statue of Gandhi will neither do these things for Malawians other than mock them for being inferior to the Indians.
And on this note, we implore the Blantyre City Council to reserve the Ginnery Corner land lot for a fitting Malawian hero who contributed positively to this nation.
Gandhi simply has no place in a tolerant Malawian society which has been peaceful and respectful of each other despite racial differences.
We thereby are requesting the Mayor of Blantyre City and the institution of Blantyre City Council, to rescind its decision to erect the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Blantyre as soon as possible.
Mpambira [email protected]
Mkotama Willie [email protected]
Wonderful [email protected]
When will we learn as Afrikans. We continue to honor and venerate our destroyers.
Malawians Seeking to Stop Proposed Statue: “Gandhi Was An Ardent Racist"
Admin | On 07, Oct 2018
Human rights group “horrified by the arrogance of the Statues for Development agenda”
BLANTYRE, Malawi: Oct. 7, 2018 — Malawi is now the second nation in Africa to bear witness to a sustained effort by the local population to block a statue of Mohandas Gandhi.
The Indian government is paying to install a statue of Gandhi in Blantyre, the second-largest city in Malawi, a country of 20 million people in southern central Africa. India requires the statue as a condition for funding construction of the Mahatma Gandhi International Conference Centre, a multi-million dollar infrastructure project which India is replicating in nine African countries. However, residents in Blantyre are outraged by the proposed statue, calling Gandhi “an ardent racist” who had “nothing but contempt for the black African race.”
On October 5, Malawian citizens Mpambira Kambewa, Mkotama Willie Katenga-Kaunda, and Wonderful Mkutche launched a change.org petition to garner support for their resistance to the statue. The petition, titled “Stop Erecting Racist Mahatma Gandhi’s Statue at Ginnery Corner, Blantyre, Malawi,” has gathered over 1,600 signatures and counting [click here to sign the petition]. It appears poised to surpass the 2,000 signatures gathered in a similar effort by faculty members at the University of Ghana who demanded that “Gandhi’s Statue at the University Of Ghana Must Come Down.”
Protests are centered on claims that Gandhi, who spent 21 years as a lawyer in colonial South Africa, has a “racist past,” “thought we were inferior,” and “went on further to fight for the idea that Indians were superior to Africans.” According to the Malawi petition, Gandhi called Africans “Kaffirs.” As the petition explains, “Kaffir is a racial slur which was used to denigrate Africans during the colonial times. The word Kaffir is now a banned word in South Africa because of its racial connotations.” A new video produced by Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), which documents the Indian icon’s relationship with black people, notes that he stated, “Indians are undoubtedly infinitely superior to the Kaffirs.”
One of the earliest protests against a Gandhi statue was in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2003. Since then, a wave of protests has erupted on at least three continents. Some of the protests include: 2010 in Flint, Michigan and in San Francisco, California; 2011 in Ottawa; 2013 in Cerritos, California and in Fresno, California; 2014 in London; 2015 in Johannesburg; 2016 in Davis, California; and 2017 in Ghana.
In October 2016, the government of Ghana agreed to remove the Gandhi statue from the University of Ghana. In April 2018, African students at Carleton University in Ottawa launched protests against the statue on their campus. “Gandhi was a racist,” said Kenneth Aliu, President of the African Studies Student Association. Alleging that Gandhi “utilised anti-Black racism” and “espoused anti-Black rhetoric,” Aliu argued that Gandhi “advocated for further segregation between people of colour” and “portrayed Africans as savages.”
“Almost all of these statues are lobbied for and paid for by the Indian government,” comments Pieter Friedrich. An analyst of South Asian affairs, he explains, “I can’t think of a single example of a local population requesting India to give them a statue, but I can think of multiple examples of locals protesting statues being imposed on them. These statues are a central part of a propaganda campaign designed to airbrush India’s human rights record by masking it with Gandhi. People look at Gandhi and think ‘peace’ and ‘nonviolence,’ turning their minds away from issues of lynching, torture, or pogroms.”
Friedrich adds, “The issue in Malawi represents India’s ongoing campaign to buy influence over Africa by issuing loans and investing in infrastructure. But the development comes at the price of African dignity if it is conditional upon installation of a Gandhi statue. Simply in exchange for foreign aid, how can any African be asked to honor a man who spent his time in their continent spreading hatred of blacks?”
“We are horrified by the arrogance of the Statues for Development agenda forced on Africans,” concludes Arvin Valmuci, a spokesperson for OFMI. “Just like Gandhi treated Africans as inferior and worked to build a three-tiered system of segregation in South Africa a few decades before apartheid, so also India is bullying Africans into accepting inferior status for aid. We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Malawi as they resist this insult to their dignity and affront to their sovereignty. Proposed statues at the capitols in Sacramento and Ottawa were successfully blocked, and we are convinced that Gandhi can also fall in Malawi.”
Gandhi's ashes stolen and photo defaced on 150th birthday
Thieves stole some of Mahatma Gandhi's remains on what would have been his 150th birthday, police say.
The ashes were taken from a memorial in central India, where they had been kept since 1948 - the year of Gandhi's assassination by a Hindu extremist.
The thieves also scrawled "traitor" in green paint across photographs of the independence leader.
Some Hindu hardliners view Gandhi as a traitor for his advocacy of Hindu-Muslim unity.
This is despite Gandhi being a devout Hindu himself.
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Police in Rewa, in Madhya Pradesh state, confirmed to BBC Hindi's Shuriah Niazi that they were investigating the theft on the grounds of actions "prejudicial to national integration" and potential breach of the peace.
Mangaldeep Tiwari, caretaker of the Bapu Bhawan memorial, where the ashes were being held, said the theft was "shameful".
"I opened the gate of the Bhawan early in the morning because it was Gandhi's birthday," he told Indian website The Wire. "When I returned at around 23:00 [17:30 GMT], I found the mortal remains of Gandhi missing and his poster was defaced."
Police took action after Gurmeet Singh - leader of the local Congress political party - filed a complaint.
"This madness must stop," Mr Singh told The Wire. "I urge Rewa police to check CCTV cameras installed inside Bapu Bhawan."
Gandhi led a non-violent resistance movement against British colonial rule in India, inspiring people across the world.
Most Indians still revere him as the "father of the nation".
But Hindu hardliners in India accuse Gandhi of having betrayed Hindus by being too pro-Muslim, and even for the division of India and the bloodshed that marked Partition, which saw India and Pakistan created after independence from Britain in 1947.
He was assassinated by a Hindu extremist in January 1948.
After his death, he was cremated, but his ashes were not scattered in a river, in accordance with Hindu belief.
Because of his fame, some were held back and sent around the country to various memorials - including the one in the Bapu Bhawan.